Short Horse-Trekking Routes Along Australia’s Bicentennial National Trail
Not every country can boast of having a 5330km long horse trail, however, nor can many boast of having the time to complete such a venture.
So while a year-long epic thru-trek along the Bicentennial National Trail may be a while off yet, why not test your horse-packing mettle and enjoy the scenery for a week or so on the following ‘BNT short’.
NUNDLE TO GLENN INNES
Region: NSW (Northern Tablelands/ New England)
*TO PACK: Lucky charm, gold pan
“Are you doing the Fossicker’s way?”, we were asked several times as we strolled out of Nundle one morning with our donkeys all packed.
We weren’t. We were on the BNT of course.
But it got me thinking. Perhaps we could pack a gold pan and folding shovel in those panniers and spend our days seeking out gold and grass (for the equines, of course)…
The Fossicker’s Way begins in Nundle and passes through Tamworth, Manilla, Barraba, Bingala, Waialda, Inverell and Glenn Innes, before culminating at Emmaville on the New England Highway. The drive provides an alternative route between Sydney and Brisbane and takes would-be fossickers through one of the richest gold and gem areas in Australia.
Although the BNT does not follow the Fossickers Way as such, it does indeed traverse that same part of country, on even lesser known roads between Nundle and Glenn Innes.
This is the perfect stretch of trail for those who would like to try their hands at gold panning or forsaking for gemstones, as the BNT treats trekkers to TSR river camps where gold has been found before. On this stretch of the trail, it’s not unusual to stumble across some gleamy-eyed chap digging around in a roadside ditch or nearby creek bed for that elusive nugget.
While Nundle is a gold town through and through (it even has an annual gold festival each March/ April), Glenn Innes and surrounds are known as Australia’s sapphire country. There are also a huge variety of other different sorts of gems to be found, such as zircons and garnets. With well-fenced TSRs (Travelling Stock Reserves) in abundance, your pack animals will be safe and sound while you hunt for something shiny to keep you on the road for another year.